Hernandez snaps tie, backs Worley's scoreless outing

Center fielder's eighth-inning single drives in go-ahead run

Hernandez snaps tie, backs Worley's scoreless outing

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Gorkys Hernandez snapped a 2-2 tie with an eighth-inning single off Mark Hendrickson, and the Pirates went on to a 4-2 Grapefruit League win over the Orioles on Sunday at sold-out McKechnie Field.

In front of 7,603, Stetson Allie led off the eighth with a single, stole second and went to third on Andrew Lambo's fly to center in front of Hernandez's single through the drawn-in infield.

In blanking the Orioles through four innings, Vance Worley allowed a pair of hits -- singles by former Pirates Steve Pearce and Travis Snider -- and walked one while striking out two.

Mark Melancon kept the Orioles off the board in the fifth, then Pearce's two-run homer off lefty Antonio Bastardo tied it at 2 in the sixth.

Pearce's two-run shot

Snider, dealt to Baltimore by the Bucs on Jan. 27, and Pearce, who played in Pittsburgh from 2097-11, combined to go 5-for-7.

Neil Walker gave the Bucs a 1-0 lead with an RBI double in the first -- his fourth double among his last five hits -- and Tony Sanchez's run-scoring single made it 2-0 in the fourth.

Walker's RBI double

Both runs came off Wei-Yin Chen, the first scores off the lefty who has worked 8 1/3 innings this spring.

"My breaking ball and my changeup felt very good today," Chen said through his interpreter. "They were better than the last outing."

Chen allowed seven hits and didn't issue a walk and felt he made strides with the new pitch in his spring arsenal.

"I think I have better command now even though I sometimes leave it up in the zone," he said. "Still I think the command is better than the last outing, and even if I sometimes miss a location, the hitters are having some trouble with the timing of it, so I think it's getting better."

Worley, in an apparent competition with left-hander Jeff Locke for the final spot in the Pirates' rotation, also pitched two shutout innings in his prior start, albeit that was in a "B" game against the Twins.

"I'm doing all right," Worley said, breaking into a wide grin. "Do I want to start? Yes, because that's all I've ever done well. But my only concern is pitching well, and helping this team any way I can."

Up next: Following their first of two Grapefruit League off-days (the other will be on Mar. 25), the Pirates will be back at McKechnie Field to host the Astros at 1:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Jeff Locke is due to make his second start, and third appearance, in his ongoing battle for a spot at the end of the rotation. Andrew McCutchen, who has nursed general "lower body discomfort" since Friday, could make his return. Righty Roberto Hernandez is Houston's starter.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.